Inside Lines: Why Beijing is no T-party for the Brits

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Forty years ago it was the clenched fist and black glove which marked the first Olympic political protest, in Mexico City. Will another hand gesture become a symbol of the Beijing Games? Politically conscious competitors are being urged by the Free Tibet movement to form a T-shape with palm and fingers to demonstrate their support when receiving medals. However, the British Olympic Association chairman, Colin Moynihan, says he does not believe any of the 313 British athletes will defy IOC rules and do so, warning: "The use of the podium for political propaganda is explicitly forbidden." However, he confirms that those who have real concerns over China's human rights "will be able to speak out freely and will have the opportunity to do so in press conferences". He adds: "My own feeling is that our athletes will be too utterly focused in winning to bother about politics, as Seb Coe and I were when we defied Margaret Thatcher over Moscow in 1980." There seems a sense of mischief in the Beijing organisers' choice of place to billet some British journalists – Hotel Tibet.

Seb joins Boris on Games economy drive

Baron Coe of Ranmore (aka Seb) will not be lording it when he makes his way to Beijing next week. He'll be in the back of the bus, or rather plane, like London's mayor, Boris Johnson, opting to fly economy to the Games. In fact none of the 2012 and mayoral contingent will be afforded the comforts and cuisine of Club or First Class, unlike the Olympics Minister, Tessa Jowell. "It is rather a long journey," her office point out. The BOA chief, Lord Moynihan, the fourth member of the Olympic Board, will also be up front, although he is paying his own way, combining it with a business trip.

Khan hires Kindelan's man as new trainer

Amir Khan has spurned America's top boxing trainers and instead picked the Cuban who was the boxing brain behind his old Olympic adversary Mario Kindelan as his new mentor. Jorge Rubio, the former Cuban national coach, will take over as Khan's third pro trainer in his bid to win the world lightweight title, picked ahead of such luminaries as Freddie Roach, Buddy McGirt and Floyd Mayweather Snr. Rubio,now a professional trainer in Miami, impressed Khan (pictured) both in Athens and on his US head-hunting expedition. "I met with a lot of trainers but I believe Jorge is the man who can best teach me what I need to learn," said Khan. "I know I will feel comfortable with him." Rubio will work in Bolton with Khan for his 6 September Manchester fight.

Thompson is just what the doctorate ordered

Unlike his erstwhile FA namesake, Geoff Thompson is both voluble and visible, which may be why the London-born former world heavyweight karate champion continues to be ignored by the Government as someone who could greatly assist the so far less than successful efforts to take sport into the increasingly mean streets as an antidote to youth crime. At least the ambassadorial credentials of the man who runs the Manchester-based Youth Charter on ashoestring have been recognised in academia by an honorary doctorate of laws from Roehampton University.

Angry Warren goes to law with Calzaghe and Setanta

The injured Joe Calzaghe is not the only boxer involved in a legal spat with promoter Frank Warren, who is suing him for £1 million after their estrangement. Remarks made by cruiserweight Herbie Hide in an interview screened by Setanta have brought a libel threat from Warren's lawyers, deepening the rift with the TV channel.